Massachusetts is currently in the process of establishing its commercial casino industry. A slots parlor opened doors in the state a year and a half ago, and two casino resorts are under construction and slated to be launched in not-so-far future.
It seems that 2017 may be the year when online gambling, or at least the provision of certain online gambling services, is legalized and regulated in Massachusetts. According to reports, state lawmakers may take more resolute measures towards the realization of that idea during this year’s legislative session.
The Legislature will probably be presented with a bill for the legalization of online lottery sales this year, one sponsored by Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg. A separate piece on the matter was received overwhelmingly well by state Senators, who voted 39-1 in support towards the end of 2016. However, no House of Representatives vote was held to cement the legislative proposal into the Legislature.
According to Ms. Goldberg and other online lottery supporters, the state lottery needs modernization and the sale of products over the Internet will bring that. In addition, online lottery will attract customers beyond the aging demographic, representatives of which are known to be among the most frequent lottery tickets buyers in Massachusetts.
Although the state seems to be gearing up for a bigger online lottery push, the idea has gained certain opposition, as well. Plainridge Park Casino, the state’s first and only operational commercial gambling parlor has already vocalized its dissatisfaction with the online gambling expansion proposal. Casino officials have noted that iGaming, in any form, will hurt the state’s land-based casino industry. Here again it should be noted that the Massachusetts land-based casino industry is currently laying its foundations.
Beyond online lottery, Massachusetts legislators have recently announced that they would give more serious consideration to the overall expansion into online gambling. A report on the potential effects from iGaming legalization in the state is to be compiled by top officials by mid-2017.
The study will include topics like taxation, regulation, consumer protection, and economic development, among many other, and will be aimed at helping lawmakers decide whether online gambling will be a profitable endeavor for the state. In other words, Massachusetts may well become yet another US state to take the long and painstaking path towards bringing iGaming to local customers.